Travel Blog

Gatwick Airport: Your Ultimate Guide to Stress-Free Travel

Hey there, fellow traveller! If you’re flying through Gatwick with kids, you’re in for a treat. Years of travelling from and to Gatwick airport has left me with tons of useful info. Seriously, gearing up a tad before your journey will help you zip through Gatwick without breaking a sweat, whether you are a solo traveller or a single parent travelling with kids. So, grab a cuppa, sit back, and let me walk you through everything you need to know to conquer Gatwick like a true travel pro. Ready? Let’s do this!

1. How to Get to Gatwick Airport

If you’re flying into or out of London, chances are you’ll be passing through Gatwick Airport. As the second-busiest airport in the UK, Gatwick sees millions of travellers every year.

Where is Gatwick Airport?

Located in West Sussex, about 30 miles south of central London, it is easily accessible by road and rail, with plenty of transportation options available. The airport has two terminals, North and South, which are connected by a free shuttle service. Both terminals offer a wide range of amenities, including restaurants, shops, and lounges.

Travelling to Gatwick Airport

  • By Car:

There are several ways to get to Gatwick Airport, depending on your preferences and budget. If you’re driving, the airport is located just off the M23 motorway. There’s plenty of parking available, including short-stay, long-stay, and valet options. Some of the most popular options include door-to-door services, such as valet parking, also known as “Meet & Greet” where your vehicle is parked for you.

  • By Public Transport:

If you are a solo traveller or looking for a budget-friendly option, consider getting to Gatwick airport by means of public transport. Gatwick is well-connected by train and bus: The Gatwick Express is the fastest way to get to the airport from central London, with trains running every 15 minutes. Trains run non-stop from London Victoria to the airport in just 30 minutes. There are also regular trains from London Bridge, London Blackfriars, and other stations. If you’re coming from further afield, you can take a coach or bus to the airport.

  • By Taxi:

An equally popular way for families of travelling to the airport is by taxi. Whether you call a taxi company or use a taxi or ride-sharing service, such as Uber or Bolt, keep in mind that traffic can be heavy, especially during peak times, so allow plenty of time to get to the airport. If you want a bit more luxury, consider booking a premier taxi service for your airport transfer online via this website booking page. These services offer high-end vehicles and professional drivers, so you can arrive at the airport in style. Some popular options include Addison Lee, Blacklane, and Wheely. Just be sure to book in advance to secure your ride.

2. Amenities in Gatwick’s North and South Terminals

Gatwick Airport has two terminals, North and South, which are connected by a free shuttle service. Both terminals offer a range of amenities to make your travel experience as smooth as possible. You’ll find plenty of restaurants and cafés, from quick bites to sit-down meals. There are also lots of shops, including duty-free for international travellers. If you need to get some work done or just want to relax before your flight, there are several airport lounges available. And if you need to charge your devices, there are plenty of charging points throughout the terminals.

Check in and Bag Drop

When you arrive at the airport, the first thing you’ll need to do is check in for your flight. Most airlines offer online check-in, which can save you time at the airport and means you only have to queue for drop off – that is, if you have hold luggage.

If you do need to check in at the airport, head to your airline’s designated check-in area, which will be displayed on an electronic board in the departure hall. You will need to present your passport and any necessary travel documents. After checking in, you’ll need to go through security. Be sure to have your boarding pass and ID ready. Store any liquids (max. 100 ml pr item) in transparent bags and place them, as well as any electronics, separately onto the conveyor belt for scanning.

Inter-Terminal Transit

If you need to transfer between the North and South terminals, for example, because you arrived in the South terminal on the Gatwick Express but your flight departs from the North terminal, you can take the free shuttle service. The shuttle runs every few minutes and takes about two minutes to get between terminals. Alternatively, you can walk between the terminals using the covered walkway. It takes about 10-15 minutes, depending on your pace.

Dining at Gatwick Airport

One of the best things about Gatwick Airport is the wide range of dining and shopping options available. Whether you’re looking for a quick bite or a sit-down meal, you’ll find plenty of choices. Both terminals offer a variety of restaurants and cafés, from fast food to fine dining. Some popular options include Pret a Manger for sandwiches and salads, Wagamama for Asian-inspired cuisine, Giraffe for world flavours, and Caviar House & Prunier Seafood Bar for a taste of luxury. There are also plenty of coffee shops, including Starbucks, Costa, and Pret.

Duty-Free Shopping

If you’re travelling internationally, don’t miss the duty-free shopping at Gatwick. You’ll find a wide range of products, including alcohol and tobacco, perfume and cosmetics, watches and jewellery, fashion, and accessories. Just remember to allow enough time for shopping before your flight, as the duty-free area can get busy.

Last-Minute Essentials

If you’ve forgotten any travel essentials, don’t worry – Gatwick has you covered. You’ll find plenty of shops selling last-minute items, such as toiletries and medication, travel adapters, pillows, and chargers, sunglasses and suntan lotion, sunglasses and sunhats, books and magazines, and snacks and drinks. There are also several pharmacies and convenience stores in case you need anything else.

Baggage Claim and Lost Luggage

If you’ve checked in a bag, you will need to pick it up at baggage claim after your flight. The baggage claim area is located in the arrivals hall of each terminal. If your luggage is lost or delayed, head to your airline’s baggage service desk. They will be able to assist you in tracking down your bag or filing a lost luggage claim.Gatwick airport shuttle

3. Special Assistance and Accessibility at Gatwick

Gatwick Airport is committed to providing a welcoming and accessible environment for all travellers, including those with disabilities or special needs. Here’s what you need to know about Gatwick airport’s special assistance and accessibility services:

Special Assistance

Gatwick Airport offers a range of services to make your journey as smooth as possible, whether you, your partner, or your child have reduced mobility, you are flying with a child in a wheelchair, or one of you require special assistance for any other reason. These services include assistance with boarding and disembarking the aircraft, help with baggage and transportation within the airport, and provision of wheelchairs and mobility aids. To request special assistance, be sure to contact your airline at least 48 hours before your flight. You can also contact the Gatwick Airport special assistance team for further information.

Autism-Friendly Initiatives

Gatwick Airport has also implemented several initiatives to make the airport experience more comfortable for travellers with autism. These initiatives include a visual guide to the airport experience (available on the Gatwick Airport website), quiet areas within the terminals for travellers who need a break from the hustle and bustle, such as the sensory room at the North Terminal, or the dedicated seating areas, and training for airport staff on how to support travellers with autism, hidden disabilities, etc. If you or a loved one has autism and are planning to travel through Gatwick, be sure to check out these resources and services.

Family Travel Amenities

Travelling with children can be a challenge but even more so for single parents flying solo with kids. Gatwick Airport offers several amenities to make the experience a bit easier. These amenities include baby changing facilities throughout the terminals, play areas for children, family-friendly restaurants, and shops aimed at families. There are also several lounges that offer family rooms and children’s play areas, so parents can relax and recharge before their flight.wheelchair at the beach

4. Premium Services and Lounge Access

If you’re looking to elevate your travel experience, Gatwick Airport offers a range of premium services and lounge access options. Here’s what you need to know:

Airport lounges

If you’re travelling in business or first class, or have a certain level of airline status, you may have access to one of Gatwick’s exclusive lounges. These lounges offer a range of amenities, including comfortable seating areas, complimentary food and drinks, high-speed Wi-Fi and showers and spa facilities. Some popular lounge options include the No1 Lounge, Club Aspire Lounge, and My Lounge. If you are a single parent travelling with kids, check if there is a min. age requirement when you book. You can also purchase lounge access even if you’re not flying business or first class.

Priority Security and Premium Passport Control

Another premium service offered at Gatwick is priority security. With this service, you can skip the regular security line by using a dedicated fast track lane. Not having to worry about standing in long security lanes juggling kids and hand luggage, is a good way to ensuring a stress-free holiday.

In addition, you can now also book Premium Passport Control, skipping the queues via an exclusive lane, saving you time and nerves.

Meeting and Conference Facilities

If you need to conduct business while at the airport, Gatwick offers several meeting and conference facilities. These facilities include private meeting rooms, audio-visual equipment, and catering services. Whether you need to host a small meeting or a large conference, Gatwick has all the facilities.

5. Gatwick’s Airline Partners and Flight Information

Gatwick Airport is served by a wide range of airlines, offering flights to destinations all over the world. Here’s what you need to know about the airport’s airline partners and flight information.

Airlines operating at Gatwick

Some of the major airlines operating at Gatwick include British Airways, easyJet, Lufthansa, Iberia Norwegian Air, Emirates, Virgin Atlantic, and TUI Airways. In total, more than 40 airlines operate in Gatwick, offering flights to almost 200 destinations across the world, from short-haul European cities to long-haul destinations, such as Dubai and New York.

Real-Time Flight Updates

To stay up to date on your flight status, be sure to check the airport’s real-time flight information. You can find this information on the Gatwick Airport website or on the screens throughout the terminals. If your flight is delayed or cancelled, your airline will typically contact you with further information. You can also check with your airline’s customer service desk for assistance.

Seasonal Route Changes

Keep in mind that some airlines may adjust their routes and schedules depending on the season. For example, you may find more flights to beach destinations during the summer months. To stay informed about any seasonal route changes, be sure to check with your airline or the Gatwick Airport website before your trip.why do flight prices change - row of planes

6. Gatwick’s Commitment to Sustainability and Innovation

Sustainable air travel doesn’t just mean using green airlines. With airports contributing approximately 15% of all greenhouse emissions in the aviation industry, the carbon footprint of airports must also be scrutinized. In recent years, Gatwick Airport has made significant strides in sustainability and innovation. Here are a few of the ways the airport is working to reduce its environmental impact and improve the passenger experience:

Electric and Biofuel Vehicles

To support the growing number of electric vehicles on the road, Gatwick has installed several electric vehicle charging points throughout the airport. These charging points are available in both the North and South terminal car parks. The airport has also invested in a fleet of electric vehicles for its own operations, including buses and baggage trucks. As recently as last month, Gatwick has switched the fuel used in its diesel vehicles to HVO (Hydrotreated Vegetable Oil), cutting carbon emissions by 90%.

Recycling and Waste Reduction

Gatwick had set itself ambitious targets for recycling and waste reduction and reused or recycled 67% of materials used in operations in 2020. To achieve this, it installed recycling bins throughout the terminals, composted food waste from restaurants and cafés, and donated unused toiletries to local charities, etc. The airport has also worked with its retailers and restaurants to reduce packaging waste and encourage the use of reusable cups and containers. Zero untreated waste went to landfills in 2020. Over the next decade and by 2030 the goal is to repurpose ALL materials used at Gatwick in operations, commercial activity, and construction.

Future Development Plans

Looking to the future, Gatwick has several development plans in the works to improve the passenger experience and support the airport’s growth. These plans include an expansion of the North Terminal to add more check-in desks and security lanes, a new hotel and office complex adjacent to the North Terminal, and upgrades to the airport’s baggage handling system. The airport is also exploring the use of new technologies, such as biometric scanning and robotics, to streamline processes and improve efficiency.charging your electric car


And there you have it – your ultimate guide to Gatwick Airport. From smart parking choices to mouth watering dining options and everything in between, you are now equipped with all the insider knowledge you need to make your Gatwick experience a total success.

Remember, a little bit of planning can make a world of difference when it comes to stress-free travel, especially when you are a single parent with young kids. So, whether you’re jetting off on a business trip or embarking on a much-needed solo or single parent holiday, keep these Gatwick tips and tricks in mind. Happy travels!

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